World Bulletin/News Desk
Three rockets fired from Syria hit an Iraqi border town on Saturday, killing a 5-year-old girl, locals and officials said, in the most serious spillover from the neighbouring country's civil war.
As rebels fought government forces for an airfield and military base near the Syrian border town of Albu Kamal, Katyusha rockets hit a residential area of al Qaim in Iraq, smashing through a wall of one house and killing a girl inside.
"She was sitting on my lap just before we heard the rocket. I knew she was dead immediately after the explosion," said Firas Attallah, the girl's father, showing a bloodstained mattress amid the shattered glass in his home.
Baghdad said a total of four rockets were fired in what it called a "criminal operation".
"Despite the fact that Iraq is committed to adopting a neutral stance towards the crisis in Syria, our brave forces are ready to confront and respond in case of repetition of such aggression," the interior ministry said in a statement.
Iraq tightened security along its border with Syria last month after its troops exchanged fire with unidentified gunmen, rockets hit a frontier patrol and Syrian army shells landed on an Iraqi border town.
The army took over frontier operations from regular border guards last month.
Local officials said they were unsure who fired the rockets.
But one Iraqi military official said it was probably rebels from the anti-Assad Free Syrian Army. He said Iraqi border troops had clashed with rebel forces two days earlier after they tried to stop smugglers getting supplies to rebels.
Al Qaim officials say more than 4,000 Syrian refugees have crossed the border which is now closed pending the construction of new camps.
Albu Kamal, site of the Syrian military base at the heart of the local battle, lies 120 km (75 miles) southeast of the city of Deir al-Zor, capital of a Sunni Muslim province with strong family and clan connections to Iraq's Sunni heartland in Anbar province.
UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura, who was also at the Rome conference, voiced concern about the Assad regime's advances in Aleppo.
10-year extension of sanctions, many currently waived, is criticized by Iranian FM and atomic energy agency head
Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court on Saturday ruled parts of an article of a controversial protest law were unconstitutional
Israel's defence minister Avigdor Lieberman has said the Knesset should delay voting on a controversial settlement till Trump's inauguration
In a further shake up of ministers King Salman has sacked the labour minister
Syrian American Medical Society physician says no-fly zones easy to set up, international community should push for it
A social worker who dressed as a clown to entertain children in Aleppo was killed Tuesday in an air strike on the Syrian city.
Civilians flee from one part of besieged city to another amid flurry of attacks by regime and its allies
Prominent lawyer and rights activist accuses authorities of shutting down two non-profit libraries in Cairo
"Iran has proved that it sticks to its international agreements but it also has appropriate responses for all situations."
Jean-Marc Ayrault accuses Syrian regime of systematic, arbitrary crimes, praises volunteer rescue group White Helmets
Kofi Anan-led Advisory Commission on Rakhine set to fly to region to probe alleged human rights violations against Rohingya
Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who flew in from Riyadh, held several hours of talks with Hadi at the hilltop Al-Maashiq palace, where members of his government are also staying, before leaving Aden, the official said.
Number of internally displaced people in Aleppo equivalent to number of Syrian refugees in all of Europe, UN says
Saturday's polls were the first in nearly four years contested by the opposition, whose diverse components agree on some issues such as rejecting government austerity measures but are split on many others.